ROME – Eight months after visiting Iraq’s war-torn city Mosul, Pope Francis sent a message to the citizens, saying that he remembers the destruction he witnessed.
“I pray that the Lord will visit Mosul, and give her consolation after so much suffering,” Francis said. “I pray for all the citizens who died, those who were tortured, those who suffered violence. I pray for the families that today are working to rebuild the city. I pray for friendship among the people of Mosul. All brothers. I pray for Mosul.”
“I remember the destroyed Churches … May the Lord help everyone to rebuild this city!” he said.
Pope Francis’s words to Mosul came in the form of a video recorded by historian turned journalist Omar Mohammed, who runs the blog Mosul Eye. He played a key role in keeping the world informed of the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State Group – called Daesh by its victims – during the 2014-2017 occupation of the city.
On Tuesday, the pontiff welcomed Mohammed at his residence in the Casa Santa Marta. Mohammed sent the video to Crux later that day.
The journalist shared several moments of his encounter with Francis on Twitter, including that the pope called him personally to make the appointment: “That was the funniest and the most beautiful part of it all. He said, I wanted to do everything myself, call you and invite you. He is so cool and fun,” Mohammed wrote.